Democratic governors who have imposed some of the country's most restrictive lockdown orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic keep getting busted trying to violate their own rules.
New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, for example, is under fire after a local news outlet reported Wednesday that the Democrat skirted her own lockdown order to buy some fancy jewelry. Just days after Grisham ordered all nonessential businesses to close, she ordered jewelry over the phone, after which an employee went into the store and placed the jewelry outside for pickup.
The store's owner said she was not aware of the order and insisted that no one was allowed inside due to the governor's shutdown order. Grisham's office offered a slightly different version of events, citing a "longstanding personal relationship" with the store employee who fulfilled the jewelry order.
After initially saying a campaign staffer made the pickup, the governor's office said an unnamed friend performed the task at Grisham's request. The governor's office denied the jewelry order was an example of a politician receiving special treatment, suggesting instead it was part of Grisham's policy of "urging New Mexicans to find ways to support local businesses."
"We are in really tough financial times as a state. It mirrors the incredible, personal sacrifices that happen every single day because people have limited their ability to work, telecommuting and many people, in fact, have lost their jobs," Grisham said when she announced the shutdown on April 3.
Grisham is in the running to be Joe Biden's vice presidential nominee, as is Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is also facing criticism after her husband, Marc Mallory, invoked his wife's title while attempting to get his boat in the water in time for Memorial Day weekend.
"I am the husband to the governor, will this make a difference?" Mallory reportedly asked dock owner Tad Dowker after being told there was no way his request could be fulfilled. Meanwhile, the governor was urging residents to avoid popular vacation sites and activities during the pandemic. Whitmer's office dismissed the incident as a personal matter and said she wasn't going to respond to "every rumor spread online."
That's not the only coronavirus-related scandal Whitmer is facing. Internal emails revealed that the governor's office gave the "green light" to award a lucrative contract to a Democratic consulting firm that worked on the Whitmer campaign. Whitmer publicly claimed to have had no knowledge of the contract, which would have enabled the firm to collect sensitive health care data from Michigan residents. The contract was canceled after the Washington Free Beacon reported on the firm's connection to Whitmer's campaign.
Virginia governor Ralph Northam, who is still in office after weathering a blackface scandal, was also caught violating his own rules over the weekend. Just moments before announcing a state-wide order mandating the use of face masks in public spaces, Northam was seen mingling with residents and taking selfies in Virginia Beach. He wasn't wearing a mask.
Northam was quick to apologize, presumably confident in his ability to weather controversy. "I was outside, saw people who wanted to take pictures and I wasn't prepared," Northam said on Monday. "I was there to talk to officials and the media. I wasn't prepared to talk to the public."
No Democratic governor, however, has as much to answer for as New York's Andrew Cuomo, who has presided over the worst coronavirus outbreak in the country but has nonetheless received glowing press coverage. Cuomo's role in accelerating the outbreak by ordering seniors infected with the virus back into vulnerable nursing home communities is only starting to receive media attention.
Meanwhile, Republican governors such as Georgia's Brian Kemp and Florida's Ron DeSantis were excoriated in the press for their efforts to gradually reopen their economies. Their states were the subject of hysterical predictions of mass death that have not come to pass. It's almost as if the media treat certain politicians differently from others.